A restricted view of the introductory knowledge base for speech physiology and acoustic phonetics (Review of Lieberman (1977), Speech Physiology and Acoustic Phonetics)

Gary Weismer


An important challenge for those of us who teach at the college level involves the impartation of a base of knowledge to neophytes in our chosen fields. As an instructor of the so-called 'introductory course', one must introduce a certain bias into the course structure and content, since the actual knowledge base of most fields will dwarf the amount of information that can be (adequately) covered in a fifteen-week semester. It should not be surprising, therefore, when a textbook designed for an introductory course--that is, a text whose purpose is to impart a base of knowledge--deviates somewaht from our own conception of the FUNDAMENTALS of our field. Under these circumstances, we must evaluate, through our own biased perspective the extent to which this different conception actually DISTORTS the knowledge base. This kind of evaluation is decidedly subjective, and when structured within the framwork of a textbook review must be viewed as somewhat similar to an educated review of a literary effort: the opinions expressed therein may have definite value and be of interest to a certain audience, but they are not necessarily statements of right or wrong.


pedagogy; introductory course

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